The Lifetime Achievement Award

*Applause. Applause. Applause.

*She walks to the podium.

*She stands next to the big shiny indescribable thing.

*She unfolds a piece of paper.

*She looks at the mic.


*She begins.

“Ahem. Thank you very much for this lifetime achievement award. It’s an honor to be receiving it right before I die tomorrow, which, as we all know, is exactly when we discover whether or not we’ve won the award for existence achievy-ness. It also means a lot that I can give a speech right now before I’m super dunzo. Much obliged.

Yes, I’ve achieved a time of life, and I have to tell you, it is so exhilarating to know that when I am nothing more than a rotting corpse in the ground, people will briefly reflect on my formally living self and think, ‘Wow, that Alison, she really executed her life perfectly. PERFECTLY.’ And then while I am withering away into non-existence, another person will quickly smile and think, ‘I mean seriously, starting from a young age that woman was determined to do everything right, and nothing wrong, ever. And look at her now. Dead.’  Then, surely, as I am becoming one with the earth and no longer a separate being of my own, a third person’s brain would chime in to think, ‘For if she ever did anything wrong, she knew it was all her fault, and there was no excuse for it, and it was important that she beat herself up mercilessly for it because otherwise how would she win this big shiny but otherwise indescribable thing that she only knew she  won the day before she died?’

I have lived my life in hopes that it would be abundantly clear that in the end I ticked all the boxes. And, barely able to think or breath or stand because I am dying tomorrow, I finally know for sure that boy did I ever tick those boxes! Check. Check. Check. That’s what I’d say to myself every time I ticked them. Check. Check. Every last one of them. It was ticking all the things that proved that I achieved my life so well.

Because if I wanted anything at all in this existence that is currently this close to not mattering anymore, it’s the satisfaction that I was exactly right at being and doing all the things, all at once. Oh, look, that’s what this big shiny thing says!”

*She pauses.

*She folds her paper.

*She steps away from the mic.

*She turns the big shiny indescribable thing for everyone to see.  

In Honor Of Alison Tafel

For memorably making the world better in a very specific, unique, and important way all while being chronically intelligent, thoughtful, kind, approachable, tough, breezy, blunt, popular, hilarious, and LIKED with an exceptional body, face, style, and hair to match.

Once more, everything appeared to come easy to her. Like, no big deal whatevs easy.

High Five, Alison. Way To Go. Pat On The Back. You Did It.

Now Go Ahead And Die.

*Applause. Applause. Applause.

“Ahem. Wow. What a powerful way to be remembered, at least for the second or two before I fall into the cracks of memory that are inconsequential and hard to reach in the end.

I hope you all know that in my determination to be all things good and not any things bad, – and again, with ease,– I never once bothered to stop and wonder if this otherwise logically impossible feat was something I even wanted in the first place.

I symbolically hold this now, this big shiny indescribable and unnecessary entity, and my mind is already racing on what’s next on my To Do list. I mean, I have mere hours left on this earth and wouldn’t you know it, I still haven’t hit the gym today!”


“Yes I know, I know. If I don’t make it to the gym then I will have failed the day and this award would be worthless, despite the fact that it is made out of the concept of PRICELESS and ALLYOUCOULDEVERHOPEDITWOULDBE.

You can be sure I will be on an elliptical machine first thing this afternoon, right after I make my final donation to the charity of my choice – the one that makes all the difference – and right before I drink one of my final protein shakes that tastes like a laid-back demeanor. (I’ll multi-task while on the elliptical with solving that big thing we are all suppose to solve together, but I can somehow solve alone.)

So, as you stare at my toned body and wonder how I drank all the beers (like one of the guys), and as you gaze into my eyes that hold all the inspiring wisdom you admire and all the endearing naivety you relate to, please rest assured that in the end, this has all been fine. I mean, I’ve been fine. I’m fine. Totally fine. Like, I’ve never been better. It’s been so great in this pressure cooker of a brain I’ve got that nothing has ever been on the brink of pure madness and hey is it hot up here I guess it’s only a little hot up here no it’s not too hot I think I think I just think it’s good, you know? It’s alllllll good, man.”


“Woman, I mean. It’s alllll good, woman! Or, people. It’s allllll good, people. Apologies.”

*Sighs of relief.

“So yeah. Thanks again. It’s all been totally worth it. This award. Not a doubt in my mind about that. As long as I can end today, and my life, hearing a stranger’s whispers in the next bathroom stall…

‘That Alison, she was always go go go, huh? Always on to the next forcefully wonderful, subjectively exciting thing. You know, that attitude was actually how she got from one thing to the next with such massive (and easy peasy) success. It was all due to her go-go-go-never-stopping-to-smell-the-roses way of impeccably being.’


‘For most people, life is messy and complicated and, uh, what’s the word? Right, HAPPY — but not straight-shooter, list-making Alison. Her deliberate hops from point A to point B were as fast as they were solid, not that I am calling her solid, in fact she was always light as a feather – which is the correct way to be, I tell you – light as a god damn feather. Low number on the scale, a laughter that’s contagious, and a personality that absolutely no one in the world would clash with. No siree, or ma’am, or miss, or they – Alison is single-handedly the only person to not annoy a single person while also being incredibly fascinating to everyone who knew of her, without at all being intimidating or boisterous, but rather powerful and encouraging and chill. P.S. None of this blog is intended to be self absorbed writing at all, even though her new worry before she posts it is that is how it is coming across.’

Yes. It is so exciting to know that these convos will be happening, for perhaps a little less than twenty minutes in total, as I fade into oblivion never to feel or know or love or exist again.

This award is truly my life’s work.

You know, I have heard of some people who, on the last day of their life, (again the only day in which we discover what we’ve won for being here), actually took home the Happiness Award instead of this big shiny thing. And those people I deeply, deeply feel sorry for. I’m so sorry your days were filled with hardships and joy and struggle and laughter and growth and sadness and peace instead of ticked boxes and self-competition and appearance scrutiny and over-analyzing and pedestalizing others and impossible standards and unseen anxiety. I’m sorry that in order to achieve calm you had to go through turmoil. I certainly never went through turmoil, on account of how meticulous I was to avoid all things wrong. It’s a shame that after all was said and done you knew how to appreciate the little things instead of focusing of the overall-ness of your worth, that you never got to know which tabs you had left open that should be closed, which loose ends you needed to immediately tie into an (evenly pulled) bow, and how you were utterly unable to distinguish and harp on your very obvious failures. Rumor has it the Happiness Award is not a big shiny, hard-to-make-out-in-your-mind thing, but rather a metaphorical box that you can indeed take with you.

I mean, seriously, who would want that when you can have this… this…um, thingy here? Right? Haha. Ahaha. Ha.”

*The appropriate and sincere amount of joining laughter.

* Immediate silence.

“Who would want to cherish deep personal connections with close friends and family when you can relive bad interactions with strangers that can’t possibly be fixed because they are in the past?

Who would want to enjoy traveling the world, seeing new sights, and trying new foods when you can instead log calories and examine your protruding belly every day, knowing there is always a better way to look, a better way to be?

Who wants to find inner-beauty when there is motherfucking Instagram?”

*Nods of approving agreement in regards to the perfectly timed use of a swear word.

“I hold this award – or rather stand next to it, because it’s not something you can have or keep or comprehend, really – I stand next to this award, and I am honored. Honored and proud (but not too proud, humble proud) that my life’s work has led to this ultimate, final, nonsignificant moment. The moment right before I am done with being alive forever.

So, thank you everyone. I’ve won. I’ve won at life. And if you want to win at life too all you have to do is do exactly what I did. Just remember:

It doesn’t count if it doesn’t come easy.”

*Applause. Applause. Applause.

*She steps away from the podium.

*She motions to the big shiny indescribable thing.

*She bows.

*She cries.

*She bows and cries.

*She bows and cries.

*She bows and cries.

*And farts.

– One L

“I don’t deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight.” – Redhead on GoT


Bathroom’s That Way…

This past month has been a crazy whirlwind for me. In a good way, I mean. I’ve had a lot of meetings, a lot of intros, a lot of excitement career-wise and relationship-wise (ten years with my boyfriend! Holla!). All in all I think 2016 has been a very good year for me.

And while it makes me feel guilty to be writing about it (I mean, have you read the news lately? STOP SUCKING, PEOPLE!), I also cannot deny that I am experiencing some great, overwhelming changes, and I have to process them. I have to acknowledge that they are happening, and not immediately go into the television writer’s brain of “wait, wait, wait, things are almost too good, yo. Am I… reaching an act break? Is everything going to crumble right in front of me like every character on Game of Thrones who has been doing too good for a while? AM I GORDIE’S BROTHER IN STAND BY ME?”

But I digress. Good things have happened, and now I’m being thrust into a lot of opportunities where I have to be a god damn professional, and not act so god damn intimidated all the time.

I have to convince myself that I belong here.

And that is what I want to write about today.

I’m sitting in a fancy schmancy lobby. It’s marble, echoey. There’s a ton of skinny men in suits playing on their phones. And this is before Pokemon Go came out so I know these men are doing some serious cell phone bidnaz business.

The guy next to me has a leather briefcase. I have my old, falling apart backpack that my boyfriend got for free at a CU Buffs basketball game eight years ago. Outside, the valet lot is full of sleek, shiny Mercedes and also my dirty, 2009 Kia Spectre with a Kermit the Frog sticker on the back. I text my manager (because I have one now, which is unreal) that I felt like I was on the set of Ex Machina, only I wasn’t a robot, but a crew member who wandered on to the wrong set. He arrives and I notice he has a really nice watch. Mine has Mickey Mouse on it. Baller.

A girl comes down the elevator, an assistant. She has cool pants. She says it would be a few more minutes. She offers me water. I take it but then I worry that in the meeting I would have to pee. Shit, I should go pee. I excuse myself to use the bathroom.

Here’s my advice to anyone who has an important meeting. Use the bathroom. Yes, there’s the practical reasons of emptying the bladder and checking your hair. Of course. Duh. But I think you should use the bathroom for a whole different purpose.

I think it’s important to remind yourself that even marble, echo-ey, ex machina, suit saturated buildings have bathrooms. After all, everybody needs a place to pee. Everybody needs a tiny, silver contraption to dispose of their tampons. For every glass countertop, there’s that sink that won’t turn off. For every futuristic automatic hand dryer, there’s that paper towel dispenser that’s jammed.

Every scary building has a place for a person to go take a dump. Because we are all human.

Bathrooms are my Hoosier’s measuring tape.

I go to the meeting. Everyone has cool, polished outfits. I am wearing a blazer that was from Buffalo Exchange. If I sweat too much, it gets a real bad BO smell. But it has flowers and makes me look hip.

Everyone is chill. And nice. Because they’ve earned it. It makes me chill and nice. It makes me feel like I’ve earned it.

I have to do everything in my power not to press the button on the big speaker phone in the conference table and shout, “JOHNSON, GET IN HERE.”

I’m wearing a necklace that’s a Goya painting of Saturn devouring his child. It’s vulgar and jarring and it makes me feel strong and it’s a nice contrast to my Mickey Mouse watch.

Every year that I get older, I feel too young to be the age that I am. I remember in high school thinking “Man, I’m a senior? But the other seniors looked so much older and wiser than me.” Then college, then early 20’s, then late 20’s.

And I feel the same way about being a resident of LA. “Man, I live here? But people who live here are so much more legit and wiser than me.” And before I lived in LA, I felt that way in Chicago. And before Chicago, I felt that way about Arizona State. (“But tan people go here!”) And before Arizona, yes, I even felt that way about Colorado. Which is actually where I am from (“They are all so outdoorsy!”) so I don’t even know how that works only to say that everywhere I go, every age I am, every building I am in, I always feel slightly out of place. Like I don’t belong. That it’s only a matter of time before people realize that I’m the imposter.

And it’s at those times of massive insecurity that I excuse myself and go to the bathroom. I see the empty soap containers, hear the whirr of the stupid toilet flush, smell the mixture of urine and bleach, and suddenly… all is right in the world.

Even CEOs need to poop.

Part of why I think this year has been so successful for me is because, for the first time ever, I’m starting to like that I don’t belong. I think it’s fun being the weird square peg trying to fit in the sophisticated round hole. 

Being an outcast has become my secret weapon. I like that when I waited for my Kia at the valet I complimented a famous stranger whose movie I obsessed over in college instead of playing it cool, cool, coolcoolcool. Obnoxious? Yes. Genuine though? Yes again. I like my Goya necklace and my thrift clothes and my shitty backpack and inability to tan.

I like that I think the bathroom is the great intimidating building equalizer.

In summary:

I took the toilet less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.


“I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo, What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.” – Radiohead


A Great Opening To A Character (AKA I Didn’t Write This At All)

She came in through the bathroom window. Hello darkness, my old friend. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.

Call me Ishmael. You can tell by the way I use my walk I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk. I’m not a bum, I’m a jerk. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. I believe in America.

People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden. One time, my cousin Walter got this cat stuck in his ass. All this happened, more or less.

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. The dream is always the same. I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being. After I killed them, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue off me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Saturday, March 24th, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey. I don’t wanna be a product of my environment.

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States? What kind of fuckery is this?

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. Hello, gorgeous. Get your motor running.

Our pasta this evening is squid ravioli in a lemon grass broth with goat cheese profiteroles, and I also have an arugula Caesar salad.

The life of a playwright is tough. I always wondered why nobody did it before me. I’m pretty much fucked.

Don’t call it a comeback.

Window, Middle, Aisle

I swear to you, this is a true story.

I was flying to New York City. Direct flight from LA. Flying by myself to attend a dream comedy writing workshop that I’ve been waiting my whole life to do. I was so excited. And squished.

Due to the short travel notice, I bought the cheapest direct flight I could find, which resulted in me sitting in a middle seat in a middle row in the middle of the plane. Not ideal.

There is nothing beneficial about the middle seat.

I boarded the plane, pumped for the journey. The gentleman on the aisle was an older man. I warned him that I will probably need to use the bathroom a few times. Something about being in the air makes my bladder shrink to the size of a walnut.

I didn’t buckle up because I knew this was a full flight and I knew there would be a poor shmuck sitting in the window seat, having to do that awkward seat shuffle with strangers in way too close proximity.

Window seat was a younger man. He had a cane and had tattoos all up his arms. We shuffled and squished and he plopped down next to the window. I put in my headphones to start my long list of comedy podcasts. Flight attendants announced that we would have no access to televisions on this six hour flight. Cool beans.

I buckled up, headphones in. Aisle Seat buckled up. Window put his cane under the seat and quickly got on his phone before take off.

I couldn’t help but listen to his brief phone call.

“Hey. I just got on the plane. I have to turn off the phone soon but I needed to tell you, because I just got the update myself, that she’s not going to make it. I thought I was visiting Mom in the hospital, but instead I am flying to find my mother dead.” Window started sobbing. “I can’t believe Mom is going to die.”

He hung up the phone and I sat there, frozen, not knowing what to do.

We took off. Aisle closed his eyes to sleep. I kept my headphones in. Window sobbed and sobbed.

Eventually he got up to use the restroom, and I saw this as my chance to scribble him a note.

Yep. I scribbled him a note.

It said something like, “I couldn’t help but hear you got sad news. I know I am a stranger, but I just want you to know that I am sorry, and I’m sending love your way because people care about you, even if they’re strangers.”

Or something like that.

He came back. Read the note. I pretended to be really invested in my podcast.

He looked at me, and tapped me on the shoulder.

“I could really use a drink right now. And I’ve never drank alone before in my life. Will you have a drink with me?”

It was 9:30 in the morning.

I said yes.

The flight attendant comped us two beers. Turns out his parents were in a car accident. His father has terminal cancer and his mother was taking care of his father but now his mother is brain dead and his dad was in critical condition and he was flying out to be with his brother and decide what to do.

So, I spent the remainder of the flight talking to Window, getting his life story. Taking his mind off his dead mother for the next six hours.

What else was I doing up there?

Window owned a weed shop. He had a daughter and a wife. He showed me pictures of all of them.

Aisle eventually joined. He was flying on business working in textiles. He was from Jersey. He had a grandson.

I told them about my comedy workshop.

We got another round of drinks.

Window was close to his family. He liked race cars. His cane was because of a racing injury. He didn’t know if he would race again after this event with his parents. Aisle didn’t know anything about race cars, but he knew about green screens and Jimmy Fallon.

I told them about my family. My boyfriend. My job. My comedy.

Window told us about his weed products. His home. His tools.

Aisle told us about his home. His work travels. His marriage.

6 hours later, we landed. Window sighed and turned on his phone, knowing he probably had more bad news on voicemails.

We stood. We wished each other well. We hugged.

Then we got off the plane, never to see each other again.

I never even got their names.

I hope Window is doing okay. And I hope that at least for six hours in the air, I was able to cheer him up.

– One L

“I’m leaving on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again.”

The Best Super Bowl Half Time Show Of All Time

This year’s Super Bowl was fine, I guess.

I don’t really care for football, (or rather, my relationship with football is complicated. I seem to write about it more often than not in this blog. But suffice it to say I am not a football aficionado) but even if I did care about football and were to pick two teams I would completely not care to see in the Super Bowl, it would be the two teams that played this year.

That said, there I was in my pajama pants, sipping a Coors Light and parked in front of my television devouring and analyzing every aspect of Super Bowl XLIX. I have done this every year since adulthood. We all have.

I love the cultural zeitgeist that is Super Bowl Sunday. It is quite honestly the most American event I can think of in the history of American events. Think about it.  The Super Bowl takes America’s most popular sport and blends it with extreme commercialism and pop culture and displays it all on one gluttonous Sunday afternoon. (You know, God’s day.) What is more wholly American than that? Nothing. Nope, not even pie.  Pies exist in London, yo. So there.

I like looking at the Super Bowl as one of those status markers on our life timeline. It’s an annual yearbook page where we can gauge where America is at in its development. We can really see a lot in the four hour spectacle. On any given Super Bowl, what did we like? What did we dislike? What was our sense of humor? Where was our sense of pride? Where were our allegiances? Political stances? Were we angry? Poor? Happy? Rich?

Who performed in the Super Bowl halftime show?

There is a Super Bowl halftime performance that has stood the test the time for me and in my eyes remains to be the greatest Super Bowl Halftime show ever. I keep waiting year after year for a topper to this particular performance. And though I enjoyed Katy Perry’s lion and even last year’s Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers mash-up (though to be honest I am still sore from that Super Bowl and would rather pretend it didn’t happen. Go Broncos), and yes I did think that in Super Bowl’s past  Prince was pretty tits and Janet Jackson’s tits were also pretty tits, but alas, my heart still belongs to this particular, singular favorite:

The Super Bowl Halftime Show of 2001.

And that show is what I want to write about today.

Let’s take it back now ya’ll…

January 28th 2001. Ravens vs. The Giants. This year’s 2001 halftime line-up? NSYNC and Aerosmith.


Here’s the link: Watch and be amazed.

The Breakdown

We begin with a reminder that this show is in fact sponsored by MTV and E*Trade but before we watch the live show we cut to a pre-taped video starring Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Chris Rock training our performers in the art of half time show-ness. Puns include “That N-SUCKED” and “You’re NSYNC-A-Smith.” Sandler does his grandma voice and is called DJ Stanley Steemer. Chris Rock enters to acknowledge the lack of racial diversity in the show and then, boom, we were off! Both bands exit the fake locker room pre-tape, leaving the strong yet confusing slogan on the fake locker room wall: “Half Time = Our Time.”

Whose time? Our time. Ours.   Who are we? I DON’T KNOW.

Cut to NSYNC bolting to the stage, being chased by their legions on fans. (These girls are simply called fans because this was before the time of Little Monsters, Bee-hive, or whatever else fans are called these days because back then there was no need to have any other sort of other title than just straight up “fans of NSYNC.”)

Justin, JC, Chris, Joey and Lance start the show strong with a rendition of their greatest hit “Bye, Bye, Bye” complete with trademark dance and a futuristic (?) wardrobe. Lights. Glitter. Smoke. Backing vocals. The show has begun.

And after that perfect beginning, Aerosmith takes it down a notch with a passionate and sunglass-clad “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” the very power ballad that accompanied Ben Affleck starring Armageddon back in 1998. It’s the exactly correct song for them to sing at that moment in time. Aerosmith is unstopabble.

Soon they pass it back to NSYNC, who have been charged with the task to bring the energy back up to an 11, and they successfully get with the song “It’s Gonna Be Me.” And what’s that? Do they all have fire projectors attached to their hands? Yep. You saw right.  Fire is being blown from Justin Timberlake’s finger tips.     And now they are dancing in a line. And now they “break it down.” JT’s vocals are on fucking par. They’ve stacked the harmonies, are ready for the song climax and wha-whaaaat?

Steven Tyler snatches the final line and proclaims “IT’S GONNA BE MAYYYYYYYY” before transitioning to the just, (God, this show is unbelievable,) he transitions to “Jaded”, people. Aerosmith is singing “Jaded” at the Super Bowl in 2001 because of course they are. NO ONE HATES THIS SONG. Tyler has a scarf around his mic. The rest of the band is dressed in late 90’s bohemian chic. It all works.

NSYNC walks over to Aerosmith’s side of the stage to join them on the chorus. Then (OHHH SNAP) it’s JT’s turn to take the final line: “I’m the one that Jaded you!” just to show both NSYNC and Aerosmith dead even at the stealing-lines-from-each-others’ songs thing.

Beat. Applause.


After a quick dance-off between Tyler and the boys, Aerosmith and crew jump into the ultimate sing-along “Walk This Way” (originally recorded with Run DMC) and it’s catchy as ALLLLLLL HECK.

Steven Tyler sings the first verse. Then we got a celebrity pile-on.

Whose got the second verse? Oh I don’t know, how about BRITNEY SPEARS? IN HER PRIME. He stomach is so flat, her hair is so blonde, her voice is so nasally. She is on top of the world. But wait…

Whose got the first chorus? Let’s go ahead and add Mary J. Blige because IT’S 2001 AND THIS IS THE SUPER BOWL. Her hair is red. She is wearing fur and bootleg jeans.  She’s standing a little too awkwardly close to Steven Tyler but I don’t care because my face it too busy melting.

Britney, Justin and Chris “Third Wheel” Kirkpatrick are the focus for yet another verse, and for a brief moment we recall that time that Britney and Justin were the Prince and Princess of pop. It was such an innocent time. Watching the two simply standing next to each other, you completely understand why they were boning.

And now it’s on to the rap solo. Traditionally done by Run DMC, but Super Bowl 2001 had other plans.

Nelly. Nelly was the plan.

His jersey is half New York have Baltimore, because Nelly doesn’t choose sides. After all, it’s “Our Time” (whatever that means). We’ll all let it slide that Nelly is missing his cheek band-aid because we are all totally forgiving like that.

One more chorus for good measure and we are out.

Super Bowl 2001: The best halftime show ever.


There are many factors and components surrounding the 2001 Super Bowl Half Time Show that labels it as, to me, the best half time show of all time. It’s almost a beautifully constructed puzzle; all the pieces fell perfectly into place. The stars truly aligned that night and have never aligned quite the same way again. Not even the 2004 infamous “wardrobe malfunction” takes the cake, and here are all the reasons why:

The Game – The football game itself that year was a bit of a bust.  It was a low scoring first half (the Giants didn’t even score in the first two periods) and the Baltimore Ravens ended up beating the Giants 34 to 7 (woo-dee-do), making the half time show all the more important for why folks continued watching the Super Bowl in the first place. It was the only interesting part of the ho-hum game. It was heightened before it even began.

MTV – In 2001, MTV was still a completely relevant music channel. Since the development of youtube and internet music explosion, (hurting the music industry in more ways that one. As Prince said this year at the Grammys, “Albums still matter.” In 2015 we now have to be reminded that.) Today, MTV has ceased to be the channel that it was developed to be, which was originally solely devoted to music videos. In 2001, while there probably a ton of criticism in the direction of MTV programming, it still was host to one of the most popular music shows ever, Total Request Live. TRL became Generation X’s American Bandstand, and it still made mainstream music matter on a daily basis.

Shit, I remember watching TRL daily in the summertime. I would partake in the voting, making sure “Bye, Bye, Bye” would beat “Freak On A Leash” for the number one slot. Shit, I also remember when Carson Daly was a dreamboat.

The fact that MTV was at all affiliated with the half time show, under the slogan “Half Time = Our Time,” heightened the coolness, the “it” factor, of the show. Football was for our dad, this halftime show was for us who voted on TRL.

Wait, is that what it meant by “Our Time”? I FIGURED IT OUT!

Today, I am unaware of the channel or show that all “the kids” are watching these days. Because, more likely, there isn’t one. Perhaps the closest thing would be if Vine was the half time sponsor. It would be 7 seconds long and on a loop.

But in 2001, MTV was where it was at, yo.

Nostalgia –When I showed this half time clip to my boyfriend, he looked at me point blank and said, “Oh my God. This is like my entire childhood rolled into ten minutes.” My boyfriend wasn’t a fan of NSYNC or Nelly, (he was sixteen at the time so yeah, boy bands were probably not his bag), but he knew who they were and remember their sound. The songs sung here and the people performing were all part of the great soundtrack to our lives. Remember how I said the Super Bowl was like a yearbook page in the great American timeline? I can’t think of a better example than this particular half time show and the millennial generation.  I know what you are thinking: perhaps that is only a good enough reason for the millennial generation, and not as a grand generalization that 2001 is the best half time show EVER, but I counter that thought with my next point…

Prime Time – So many of these guests were at the height of their career at the time of the 2001 Super Bowl. Many are still surprisingly part of the pop culture zeitgeist, but now have taken on different roles with their age. Remember when Ben Stiller always played intense and funny characters? Now he’s a “serious” “director.” Remember when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake dated? Now she’s in Vegas and he’s married to the chick from 7th Heaven with a kid on the way. Remember Nelly? How 2001 was he??? Remember Steven Tyler before he was the crazy American Idol judge? How is it that Mary J. Blige and Chris Rock haven’t aged, like, at all?

Hey, remember when Adam Sandler was funny?

So yeah, I get that not everyone is part of my generation and maybe they don’t “get it” like I do, but every generation certainly can watch this show today and get a good sense of change that has happened over time. We are all apart of it people. We all helped shape Britney Spears into the woman she is today. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Pre – Terrorist Attack –  Finally, and I think most importantly, I would like to point out that this was the final Super Bowl before 9/11. Everything in America changed after that tragic event. Absolutely everything. In a sense, this silly show that I have been stupidly gushing about for paragraphs and paragraphs was one of the final celebrations America had before the country, in essence, lost its innocence.  Before I lost my innocence as well. (Ew, I mean morally, you idiot!) On January 28th 2001, when I was obsessing over Armageddon and Lance Bass, I was unaware that world was such a scary place. By the February 2nd 2002, the next year’s Super Bowl I was more than aware.

I am not only part of the millennial generation, but also the post-9/11 generation. The status quo of everything: politics, the economy, culture, pop culture, shifted. Events were taken more seriously, more solemnly, with less trust. Bubble gum pop with hand fire projectors no longer belonged. The following Super Bowl XXXVI had U2 as the performers, and it was an incredibly somber and beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives and family members in the attacks.  According to Wikipedia, it was also the first major event that was designated as a National Special Security Event by the Office of Homeland Security. Things were never ever going to be the same.

Talk about your yearbook page.

Pop culture has slowly become happier over time, but we still have a long ways to go if we ever want to match the tacky, happy, prime time, MTV, soundtrack of our life goodness that was Super Bowl 2001. I also have to accept that it may never happen. Our timeline has shifted.

What mind blowing thing did we get this year? A dancing shark.

Hey, it’s a start.

  • One L

“I’m the one that jaded you…”

Dear Person Who Doesn’t Like Me For Some Reason

Dear Person Who Doesn’t Like Me For Some Reason,

Hello! How are you? How are things? Good… Good…

Ohmygod it KILLS me that you don’t like me for some reason. If you should know one thing about me, it’s that I absolutely want you to like me.

I like being liked, I don’t like not being liked.

And I want to do everything possible to undo or redo or do do whatever needs to happen to make it right and to make you like me again. UNLESS you never liked me to begin with, in which case it’s like, oh God really? I’m that bad? You really don’t like me to the point that the moment you met me you didn’t like me? Like you just got a vibe? God how can I change my vibe? Is there anything I can do? Anything? Anything at all?

I don’t mean to harp on it. It’s just become one of those non-sexual foucauldian-esque things where the more I try not to think about you not liking me, the more I’m thinking about you not liking me. And I know, I know plenty of people like me, (I THINK) but for some reason you not liking me is taking over my brainwaves. So maybe if I put it out in the universe that I want to fix that, it will not be the case anymore and all will be right in the world.

Or shit, maybe harping is the reason you don’t like me. Fuck me.

Maybe you’re someone I have to see often, or you’re someone whose social circle is the same as mine but who I only occasionally see on Facebook, but you may also be someone from years ago who I will never speak to again, or perhaps you’re even someone I just saw once in passing on one of your bad days, but either way it completely overwhelms me that there is someone in this world, you, who on the rare occasion may think of me and automatically go “Ug.” Like with that eye roll too. Like “UHHHHG.”

It gives me an ulcer.

Maybe you dislike me because I am way too into your eye-rolling, UG! bid-naz. Whoops. Sorry. I take it back. I take it all back.

I know there probably isn’t much I can do to change your mind, but boy oh boy if I had any super power in the world, it would definitely be the power to change your mind about this whole you-not-liking-me-thing.

I don’t know why it’s so important to me that you should like me. It’s not like I have any control in the matter. Or that my life or your life will significantly change in the opinion shift process. (Though it’s a possibility… RIGHT?)

It’s not like everybody likes everybody or that I am the only person in the world you have decided not to like. Heck I may not like you, but I’ll be totally honest, if you changed your mind about me and decided to like me, I probably would totally like you a shit ton back.

Because that’s how the world works, dude/dudette.

People like people who like them. If, at heart, we all liked each other, then the tiny differences we would face would be much easier to resolve and much faster to get over.

Unless you’re someone who doesn’t like to resolve things. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. You do you. You do you.

I dunno. I get why I can be unlikable at times. I know my faults probably better than anyone in the world. I scrutinize over my faults, I always want to be better. Does that help at all? Knowing I want to be better?

Or how about knowing that I have a good heart? I do. I really do. I’m not in the game of being mean to someone for personal/professional gain. I don’t throw people under the bus to make me feel better about myself. Throwing people under the bus is not an accomplishment, I don’t like it. I’m not even very good at being passive aggressive. If you’ve ever interpreted anything I’ve said as passive aggressive, I assure you it wasn’t. Because, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I’m smart enough to pull off passive aggressive. I’m not that deep or coy. I pretty much wear my emotions on my sleeve and am incredibly juvenile in nature. So, if you think I’m passive aggressive ever, you’re giving me too much credit.

Not to say you’re an idiot for giving me passive-aggressive credit. I AM NOT INSULTING YOU I SWEAR. It would be what some would call counter-productive on this whole “please like me instead of disliking me” letter.

Look, I know I’m not perfect. I’m not nice all the time. I know I’ve been mean, but I’m never mean in the flat out “I’mma bitch, deal wit it” fashion. I’m probably mean if I’m defending myself or others, or I’m wanting to clear the air or resolve a conflict, or I’m mad at a particular situation not a particular person, of if I just cranky because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. DOES THAT HELP? DOES THAT HUMANIZE ME? CAN WE BE FRIENDS YET?

The thing is, I am not afraid of conflict. I’m just afraid of conflict permanence. And you personify that fear. So essentially, I’m afraid of you and your existence.

Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t exist. Jesus, foot in mouth much, Ali? Ahhh hah haha haha. I’M BREEZY.

Maybe I can just fall in the “annoying” category over the “dislike” category. Maybe my “annoying-ness” is “endearing.” Maybe if I put “air quote” over “everything” I’ll trick you into “liking me” “by” “the” “end” “of” “this” “letter.”

Or maybe, maybe I should just learn to deal with it, huh?

Maybe I should accept the way things are, let this thing go, and understand that in the grand scheme of things, everything and everyone in the situation will be fine.

The world is an imperfect place, and we are imperfect people, and the more that I try to control what people think of me the less control I actually have. Being cool usually means not caring if you’re cool. Same should go with being liked. If I’m confident in myself and acknowledge that there are tons of people around me who think I have value, and think I deserve love, then why does your opinion matter so much? Maybe I should know that I’m a good person, because, well, I am a good person. The fact that I care so much about this stupid thing is proof. And I am so lucky to have so many friends and family in this world who know that I am good, and who like me for it which THUS makes me want to be, like, more good.

And while I’m at it, you’re a good person too (whoever you are)! You’re loved and you have worth and even though you really really really don’t like me, I know that you have something that makes you pretty great, even though it probably has nothing to do with your relationship with me. And I hope you take that thing (or things) and use it to make the world a better place.

And if you do that, then really, who cares if you don’t like me?

I do.



Surge, Slumber Parties, and Humiliation

When I was a little girl, I’m pretty sure I was my girlfriends’ parents’ worst nightmare. I had a big, bold personality, I was attention-needy and theatrical, I was easily hyper and I loved soda and junk food. Sure, I had a good heart but that didn’t go very far if you were that parent who for the last time said NO to running through the sprinklers, because chances were when I was around, we did it anyway. I didn’t mind getting dirty or leaving things half played, and I really didn’t mind not cleaning up after myself. I was a picky eater, (for some reason I thought the color red was gross, so no ketchup or pasta sauce for me!) and my greatest dream was staying up ALL NIGHT at slumber parties.

I never looked before I leaped, and I would do anything, and I mean anything, to get a laugh from a gal pal.

I don’t know why I was like that. Perhaps it’s the aged old philosophy that the youngest in the family was goof ball, one that parents are more lax with when it came to discipline. Maybe it was because for a huge portion in my childhood all my friends were boys, my best friend being my neighbor Johnny. So, in that regard, I was a pretty run of the mill child when it came to being hyper and getting dirty with little dudes over little ladies. I didn’t start making close girl friends until I was in the double-digit zone, age: eleven, twelve and thirteen. Perhaps in regards to being a little girl, I had some catching up to do.

I didn’t consider myself a mean girl growing up. In high school I was wound a little tight because I put so much pressure on myself to succeed, but that’s a different beast than being a mean girl: that’s a high school nut job. When I was in the young tween age (a word, which by the way, that didn’t exist until I was in college. As far as I was concerned, I was never a tween. I went from kid to girl with period. End of story. Period. Period.) I don’t think I had to energy to be giggly, boisterous and mean all at once.

That isn’t to say I never did anything bad.

I still cringe at this story, which is perhaps why I feel the need to write about it today. Maybe it’s self-serving, to get it off my chest so I can feel better. Or maybe I’m hoping that if I just talked about it, I’d realize it wasn’t so bad after all. But honestly, in the end, it’s really just my attempt at an apology to no one in particular.

I want to set it straight that even nice, good-hearted (albeit obnoxious) girls like me had a few bad moments growing up. It’s an important lesson, I think. A reminder that we are not perfect, but also a reminder that we should always strive to be better, to be nicer even if we are already built that way.

I regret this story forever, as silly as it all may seem now.

Also, for the first time ever on this blog, I will be using fake names. Normally I just completely omit names if I want to keep the distance, but considering this is a tale from my childhood with all it’s childhoody details, it’s easier to use false-y names instead of playing the pronoun game. (She, He, They…)

Besides, it’s not really about the names in the story. Because this story is about no one in particular. It’s more a fable about looking before you leap. Even if you land safely, someone else surely won’t.

Seventh grade. Slumber Party at Joanna’s house. Eight girls were invited, and I was one of them. Joanna had all the classic fixings of sleep over perfection. A giant tent was set up in her backyard, and with it a long extension cord connecting the house to a tiny TV we placed in the corner of the tent to watch scary movies later. We had snacks and Surge (SURGE WAS MY CRACK) classic party games, and as the sun went down we even lit up a fire pit and roasted s’mores.

Then, in true girl party form, probably after discussing which twelve year old boy had the cutest butt in class but before discussing if we were actually going to watch Tremors (the movie we deemed scary at the time), we landed on a party favorite. PRANK CALLS.

I sometimes wonder in today’s day and age of smart phones and texting if prank calling even exists anymore. Back in the day, we knew all the tricks to blocking the number so even if someone had a new fangled caller ID (IT TELLS YOU WHO IS CALLING, TECHNOLOGY TO THE MAX!) they couldn’t track us. Pranks calls were both covert and exhilarating. There was a chance of getting in trouble, but the repercussions were small. Still, the majority of those at Joanna’s party were nice girls, fearful of trouble so we began to brainstorm numbers to call that wouldn’t wake parents at this late hour of probably 9:30PM at night.

Then we remembered a girl from our class had her own personal phone number. (The coolest of the cool things to have. How I longed for my own phone number so I could be like Claudia from Babysitters Club. I only had a cordless phone in my room, but it was the same number as my parents so totally not personal. LANDLINES, AM I RIGHT?) The lucky girl with her own personal number was named Tara, and I remember she was even close friends with some of the girls at the party. Chances are she wasn’t invited because Joanna’s tent could only fit eight girls and Tara would’ve been one too many. And maybe Joanna wasn’t great friends with Tara or something. Oh, who am I kidding! Tara wasn’t invited because she wasn’t invited, doesn’t matter the reason. And it doesn’t matter who was friends with her. Even years later I’m trying to justify our actions toward this girl from this night. The truth was, a girl our age had her own personal line and was not at the slumber party where a group of girls wanted to be giddy and prank call someone.

The first call to her number would’ve been just fine. A simple “Is your refrigerator running” and goodnight. But Tara didn’t pick up for us to drop the hilarious line. We sat squeamish as her sweet answering machine picked up “Hi this is Tara’s phone. Please leave a message.” (Yes, this girl had her own answering machine. So. Cool.) I, seeing this as a moment to get the group laugh that I always desired, grabbed the phone and in a funny voice left Tara a long ranted voicemail.

I really am digging back to remember what was said, but I can almost certainly vouch that what I said wasn’t mean. As stated before, I wasn’t a mean girl. I was a goof. I don’t think I had it in me to be verbally nasty at age 12 or 13 or however old I was at the time. I think I was just being silly.

But it wasn’t about what was said, it was the action that was nasty.

Because as the girls howled in laughter, it was decided that everyone wanted a go at this hilarious “prank call” to Tara’s answering machine.

Thinking we were so smooth by blocking Joanna’s home phone number, we proceeded to call Tara’s personal line and leave voicemails seven or eight time sine a row. It was a mixture of us a) being fearful to call other people, b) too naïve to be more original than doing the same joke over and over again and c) not looking before we leapt. Each time we dialed, we spent the calls talking to each other and passing the phone around, doing bits and making funny noises. And with me enjoying the run of classic comedy characters I was impersonating, I am certain my voice landed on every single message.

After all our “pranking” was done, we shit our pants watching Tremors and fell asleep in sleeping bags and smelling of popcorn seasonings.

The next day we didn’t think twice about pranking Tara. It was just as wholesome as the Mickey Mouse pancakes we ate that morning. It didn’t come from a place of ill feelings toward Tara, at least not from me. It came from a place of antics, the silly things you do late at night when you’re a kid.

Then the next day my mother came to get me at a friend’s house, looking more angry at me than I think she had ever looked at me before.

And for the first time, I got the view from Tara’s perspective. Her mom had called my mom because, no, we did not successfully block Joanna’s parents number from the caller ID, and after calling Joanna’s mom, Tara’s mom got a list of every girl at that party and proceeded to call every parent. As she should have. I would have if this had happened to my daughter. (Though again, do prank calls happen today?)

Can you imagine being twelve years old and having you own personal number filled with silly messages from a group of girls from school who were all at a party, a party that you weren’t invited to? Maybe you were excited to give out your own personal number to people, because it was a cool thing to have, only to have girls prank call you late on a Saturday night. Maybe you were there, not answering, hearing them as they happened. Or maybe you weren’t there, but heard it the next day after the fact. Both would be awful experiences. I couldn’t imagine. When you are that age, you are wreaking of insecurity as it is. All you want at the time is to belong, and probably a greatest fear would be to discover that you were somehow the butt of a joke at a party you didn’t even get invited to. My soul hurts as I write this because I remembered how it felt to feel like an outcast. It took a while for me to get girlfriends, remember? And I knew the stares I got from parents when I was invited over. Heck to this day I am certain parents of old friends think of me in terms of an eye roll. I remember wondering why no one would ask me to the dances in high school, unaware that my Type-A personality and tiny boobs were probably a massive turn off to boys who probably just wanted girls to stop talking and have sex with them already. I remember being dumped in sixth grade by a boy who told people I forced him to kiss me at a make-out party. And I remember said make-out party, a party that was one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life because, quite frankly, I didn’t know what to do. I remember crying about that whole series of events for a long time. To be the butt of the joke because you’re simply growing up, Jesus, it hurts.

Humiliation is a feeling you never forget.

And I was part of the group that humiliated Tara that night. And all I can say, after all these years, is I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to humiliate her. I just wanted to fit in myself. I just wanted to make the girls laugh with my theatrics, funny voices, and take no prisoners front. I wasn’t thinking about hurting someone’s feelings, or making someone feel small, or hurting someone like I had been the year before from the make-out party, or the years later when I didn’t know where to stand during passing periods at my high school.

Childhood is a big mess of angsty hurtful times. I remember my mom scolding me, I remember the veiled threat that Tara’s mom was going to call the police and press charges of harassment, I remember calling Tara personally to apologize, and I remember her accepting it, even though I could tell she felt it was a forced apology. Tara, if you ever come across this blog, I promise you, it wasn’t.

I think I hung out with Tara after that even. We had a few extra curricular activities together, and I remember most of the girls at that particular party felt extra bad as well and we spent the rest of the year being extra nice to her because we couldn’t believe what we had done, that we were in fact mean girls for one night. Or maybe some didn’t care, but were just extra nice so they didn’t get in trouble again, but I hope that’s not the case.

We signed each other’s yearbooks, started shaving our legs and moved on. After all, we still had high school to endure. And our first significant death.Our first true love. Our first year of college. Our first brush with adulthood.


The fact of the matter is, there was more pain to be had. More scarring events to go through. I certainly got mine, so if Tara ever wondered if karma was true, for me it was. I was teased probably on through to college. I didn’t get pranked called or anything like that, instead I was called a bitch straight to my face, and cheated on, and dumped more times than I can count.

I always wondered what happened to Tara. I thought about emailing her sometime, but found she was no longer on Facebook, basically my only contact with my former high school world. (Same goes with my old high school sweetheart and a friend I had a falling out with. Tell me, do all people that I think hate me stay hidden from me on Facebook?) I think she went to school out of state where she rocked college and probably landed a job she is super good at and got married to a handsome dude and is very happy.

Who knows? Maybe she forgot about that night of silly prank calls. I hope so. And if not, I hope she knows that even more than fifteen years later, this older obnoxious, theatrical, funny girl, is now a comedy writer in LA and is still sincerely sorry.

Okay, I feel better now.

That’s my fable. And if I were to give young girls any advice. It would be this:

a)    Don’t be a mean girl.

b)   Look before you leap, otherwise you can be a mean girl.

c)    Don’t worry so much if parents dread you coming over. Surge doesn’t exist anymore so you have nothing to worry about.

– One L

“Be kind. Rewind.” – The profound philosophy of the VHS tape.


That ONE Scene

It’s Oscar season, one of my very favorite seasons of the year. The Oscars are a time where movie obsessers and casual movie watchers alike get to spout out their thoughts and feeling of the one the coolest forms of entertainment that has come out of humanity, films. From the insider info on Academy politics, to the Midwest eagerness to see the pretty dresses, the Oscars are a universal love-fest night that showcases what the Hollywood Dream is all about. It’s glamour. It’s heart. It’s storytelling. It’s entertainment.

I fucking love the Oscars.

What’s fun while leading up to the Big Night is hearing people passionately defend or despise the recognized films in the Best Picture category. I myself am guilty of love/hating the nominees, and it is endless amusement to analyze the pedigree from which these movies come. What cliché marks did these films hit to get the gold? What was clearly just “Oscar bait” vs. what was truly a remarkable film of the year?

Every year I watch all the Best Picture nominees like I’m going to be quizzed on them later. I demand to dominate my Oscar ballot, and I know in my heart who should win vs. who is gonna win so I vote accordingly to win the pool.

The Oscars are my SuperBowl. March 2nd 2014, let’s do this.

Deadline recently wrote an article about “The Scene” in Oscar Bait movies. (check it out here: )  The Scene is that memorable, almost unexplainable scene that defines the movie, and makes viewers as a whole sigh “this film needs to be nominated for an Academy Award.” I love discovering “The Scene” in Best Picture nominees, mostly because they are so indefinable yet universally agreed upon, and a little bit because they make me feel fuzzy inside.

So for this blog post, I decided to take a look at the last five years of Best Picture nominees to see if I can recall the best of “The Scene” from that particular collection of pictures. No research except for recalling it from my noggin. Because if it is, in fact, “The Scene” I should be able to remember it easily. That’s it’s point.

Often, “The Scene” is from a movie that didn’t win the big prize in the end, and for sure people will read this and debate and argue about a better “The Scene” from the bunch and to that I say, you’re welcome.

So without further adieu, here is my list of “The Scene” from the Best Picture nominees.

(Don’t read if you haven’t seen these movies. Or do. It’s your life.)

2014 – (This Year – Doy)


American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

“The Scene” – From Captain Phillips. The Final scene.

After being saved by Seals, Tom Hanks is brought onto a Navy Ship to be looked over by medics, and as they are checking his wounds and asking basic questions, Hanksy’s Phillips begins to register the whole “kidnapped by pirates” ordeal he just went through. In tears and in between hyperventilation, Hanks does his best at answering the Navy medic. The scene is simple, real, not overdramatic, and honest. It almost feels like an afterthought scene, like one to watch while the credits roll, but if you as an audience member are catching it and not balling your eyes out, then you, sir, are not human.

And no, Hanks was not even nominated this year. Bizarre.

Watch it here:

Honorable Mentions –

Dallas Buyers Club – Jared Leto’s “I don’t want to die” scene.

Gravity – “Sandra Bullock Looks Like A Baby Fetus In Space” scene.

American Hustle – Any scene where Jennifer Lawrence talks.

Honorable Mention Despite Not Being Up For Best Picture –

Frozen –The “Let It Go” scene.

2013 Nominees –



Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

“The Scene” – From Les Mis. “The Anne Hathaway Scene.”

 So Anne Hathaway is barely in this flick. Her character dies pretty much right away, but not before she sings a really powerful version of “I Dreamed A Dream.” It’s super zoomed in, her hair is short, she’s singing live, and she looks super naked. After “The Scene” she peaces out and you as a viewer still have five and a half hours to go in the movie. Which sucks, but that scene sticks with ya.

She won. The movie did not. But that’s because ARGO was amaze-balls. (BEN AFFLECK FAN 4 LYFE.)

Watch it here:

Honorable Mentions –

Argo – The “they are in the airport and cutting it close” scene.

Zero Dark Thirty – The “We Killed Bin Laden” scene.

Argo – The “Ben Affleck in in a tight shirt” scene.

Silver Linings Playbook – Bradley Cooper’s “I’m Freaking The Fuck Out Over My Wedding Album” scene.

Argo – The “Ben Affleck is Rad” scene. (i.e. All of them)

2012 Nominees –

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

The Help


Midnight In Paris


The Tree Of Life

War Horse

“The Scene” – From The Descendants. The “George Clooney Kisses His Wife Goodbye While She Is In A Coma” Scene.

After an arch of really villain-izing  the coma woman who plays Clooney’s wife, (a silent character who never gets to say her side of the story to the audience, making Clooney the victim and sympathetic character throughout), Clooney is faced with the task of saying goodbye to his unfaithful and unhappy love. And, in the quiet, climatic moment of the film, it’s realized that love is love. No matter how difficult a marriage or a relationship can be, it is still hard to say goodbye to someone you know very, very well.

Clooney and the film did not win because the Academy had way more fun pretending we were still in the 1920’s making silent films.

Couldn’t Find the clip because FUCK YOU INTERNET.

Honorable Mentions –

The Help – The “Poop Pie” Scene

That’s it.

2011 Nominees –

Black Swan

The Fighter


The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

“The Scene”  – From The King’s Speech. The King’s Speech Scene.

Yeah, yeah, I hate myself for it. But it’s true. The whole movie you are waiting for a stammering Colin Firth to deliver a speech perfectly and when push comes to shove in the end he does and it’s pretty great. (I say “great” in terms of it being a fluffy, British, charming film with not very high stakes. I mean the man had trouble talking and was king, he wasn’t curing cancer here.) It’s a very tense and satisfying scene and probably why it won Best Picture and Firth Best Actor. Dammit.

Watch it here:

Honorable Mention –

The Social Network – The “Jessie Eisenberg is a dick to Rooney Mara” scene.

Winter’s Bone – The “OMG JLaw had to cut off her DEAD DAD’S HAND” scene.

Toy Story 3 – The “these toys are holding hands because they are pretty sure they are going to die in a fire-y pit” scene.

2010 Nominees – (the year of great first scenes)


The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

A Serious Man


Up in the Air

“The Scene” – The Hurt Locker. The First Scene.

To kick off The Hurt Locker, a solider must dismantle a bomb while two other soldiers stand guard and talk casually about grass. It really paints the picture of the entire film, which is basically about the duality of a soldier’s life at war (the intensity of the tasks at hand vs. the desire to find normal in the chaos) and it’s an on edge scene that sticks with you for the rest of the film. Yep. It beat that Fern Gully in 3D movie.

Watch it here:

Honorable Mentions –

Inglourious Bastards – The First Scene. Shit I probably should’ve gone with this one.  Pretend I did.

Up – Again the First Scene. A love story in four minutes. God, that’s good.

I could go on and I want to but I should probably live a little bit today. Hey, it’s been fun.

What are your favorites of “The Scene”?

– One L

“And the Oscar goes to…”

My Brother Brian

A couple years ago I wrote a blog entry with my big brother Mike* with the promise that I would someday do the same for my other brother Brian. I think I have put it off for so long because I am relatively similar to Brian, and the more similar one is to a person, the harder it is to have colorful commentary on said person. It’s hard to talk about anyone you’re very close to eloquently or objectively.

Alas, it’s December and it’s Christmas time, a time of year where I get nostalgic and reflective of Christmas past. Considering Brian was hugely instrumental in my childhood Christmas giddiness, and considering this is the first year we will not be sleeping under the tree around Christmas Eve (don’t worry Brian, this post isn’t meant to make you feel bad. We get you for Christmas Day, and it will be amaze-balls), this shift and inevitable acceptance of growing up has made me want to talk about my childhood and Brian’s role in it.

So that is what I’m going to write about today.

Here’s hoping it’s good.

Brian is my other big brother, though he will be the first to say he is not as big as our rugby playing Mike.  Mike is the eldest Tafel child; he was born and then 13 months later Brian came along. The boys were so close in age many thought they were legit twins, not just Irish ones. They really are two peas in a pod, the ultimate of close brothers.  Though they have similar passions in sports, the outdoors, and education, and though they both embody what I have dubbed “the Tafel Temperament” (loud/jovial/scary/fun/outgoing/passionate/short fused yet easily happy) Michael and Brian have grown up into very different people.

Namely, Brian is a lot like me. Mike is not so much. (See other blog.*)

It’s odd that Brian and I share so many similarities, because growing up I don’t remember wanting to be like Brian. Sure he was cool older brother, but I don’t recall trying to embody “the essence of Brian” or anything like that. In my eyes, Mike and Brian were in their little world of club soccer and geography bees, where I was in the land of theater and spending a large quantity of my day talking to myself in funny accents.

But the fact remains Brian and I are undoubtedly related, sometimes painstakingly so.


Brian loves being the center of attention.  He loves doing what it takes to get the laugh. He also thinks he’s very, very funny, just like I know I am very, very funny.

Brian has dry wrinkly hands, his feet can smell, and his facial features most resemble mine (except for my inability to get a tan).

Brian was an A+ student. He was always taking the smart kid classes in school and was a permanent staple on the honor roll. I got good grades too.  I hate to admit that Brian is naturally smarter than me, so I won’t. He’s smart.

Brian is a proud winner and a sore loser, and if he loses he will figure out any reason why there was an unfair advantage toward the winner. I can’t tell you how many times Brian has told me I got “the easy questions” when I was doing well at Trivial Pursuit. Likewise, I HATE feeling stupid and I HATE losing, which is a really unfortunate quality considering I have no athletic ability whatsoever. Brian at least wins once a lot. I’m a chronic sulker.

Brian: Coaching :: Alison : Comedy. Brian wants to be the best at what he does and work incredibly hard at it. This goes from when he played soccer as a child to when he coached in grad school. Whatever he wants to do, he wants to do well. And he has a massive amount of pride in the process.

Brian is in the midst of his career journey. Me too!

Brian likes learning, and thinks trivia is fascinating.

Brian is stubborn.

Brian cares about family.

Brian is a romantic.  

Brian likes super fun times and inside jokes.

Brian is driven.

Brian is spoiled.

Brian is a hard worker.

Brian likes deep, intellectual conversations.  

Brian rolls his eyes at stupidity.

Brian hates the movie Because I Said So starring Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton.

Brian has a big heart.

It should be no surprise that I look up to my brother, and I attribute much of my gumption and drive to the gumption and drive he showcased growing up. I always wanted Brian’s approval. I always wanted to make Brian laugh. And on occasion, he humored me with a nod or a thumbs up.  Those thumbs up are probably the reason I discovered comedy.

And yet, despite all these similarities, Brian and I still manage to be on different planets.


Brian lives in Grand Junction, CO population 60,000. I live in Los Angeles, CA population 3.85 Million.

Brian went to the beautiful and private Colorado College in Colorado Springs. I went to Arizona State University, which at the time was the number one party school in the country according to Playboy.

Brian got his degree in History and then went on to get his masters in Sports Pedagogy. My degree is in Theatre (spelt with an “re” to sound more important).

Brian was much more popular and cool than I was in high school.

Brian is a fast runner. I’m slow as fuck.

Brian is an all around a fantastic athlete, and his handwriting is nicer than mine too.

Brian likes whiskey. I can only handle whiskey if it is a 7 and 7.

Brian teaches high school history and is the head coach of Palisade High School’s Basketball Program. I’m scared of high schoolers and don’t know how to do a lay-up.

Brian doesn’t like email. I check mine multiple times a day.

Brian likes to dance and he likes karaoke. I better be good and drunk to do either.

Brian is really in to fantasy sports. I don’t know how to play football.

Brian doesn’t like soup. I love soup.

Brian is laid back when it’s time to be laid back. I’m incredibly anxious all the time.

Brian has an infinite sense of cool, a moral code of conduct, and thorough argument with how to live your life happy and successfully. I am still figuring out my “code.”

I think in terms of brother/sisterly relationships, Brian is definitely more of the brotherly type. While Mike was my distant, mysterious old brother who I became closer to in adulthood, Brian filled the role of brother that drove me crazy, brother I would fight with, and brother who would pick on me constantly. Even through adulthood Brian has taken the role of critic, and I’ve always found his honesty with me and my work refreshing, even if as a child I wanted to wring his neck.

And boy did I ever. If ever there was a time Brian was pissing me off, I remember closing my eyes, clenching my fists, and screaming at the top of my lungs, “LEAVE …ME…ALOOOOONE.”

Screaming was my only line of defense.

That said, when the bad was bad, the good was good too. I loved when Brian and I just hung out as children. It was rare to have days of friendship with him considering Brian had the built in best friend with our older brother, but I was happy to play second fiddle to Michael if Mike wasn’t around.

And most of those bonding times, the times Michael more or less peaced out, were at Christmas.

Michael likes Christmas, but growing up Brian and I LOVED it. We liked the picture books, the décor, the taped TV specials, the cassette tapes, and the food. (No joke, I once saw Brian single handedly devour a box of croissants in once movie binging sitting). Christmas is such an interesting time because only a few people really shared the tiny experiences you did as a child, and I think of all the people in all the world, Brian is the only one who knew what my Christmas was like. Sure my mom and dad were there, but they were playing Santa, not wishing for him. And yes Mike enjoyed the season, but Brian and I went batshit overboard with it. It’s like Brian saw Christmas through my eyes.

Brian’s favorite ornament, and I remember this, was a red wooden airplane. He would take it off the tree and fly it around, rescuing and/or helping other ornaments with their ornamental needs. I would try to play too, but I just had a shitty tin airplane ornament. One with a shitty squirrel who was shittily waving instead of paying attention to flying like a good pilot would. Brian and I would rock out to Dan Crow’s Christmas album, aptly titled Santa Songs, and we’d act out the Chipmunks to our hearts delight.

To this day the Muppet Family Christmas special is near and dear to our hearts. Not only can we recite the whole special, we can recite the Playskool and McDonalds commercials that are on our old VHS tape along with it. (P.S. you guys, Oreo ads back then were the bomb).  And even in all the whining and poking and tongue sticking outing, those happy times are what I remember when I think of Brian today. I see my brother who knows what “Careful of the icey patch” means.

It’s because Brian made Christmas important that I think I make Christmas important today. He always wanted to be the candy winner in the advent calendar even though it was split evenly among us kids. He always wanted the chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. He always wanted to the “the elf” who passes out the presents on Christmas morning.

And that twinkle exists with him now. I hope he never loses that. And I hope someday he passes that sense of awe and wonder on to his kids.

One time Brian told me that the divers at Denver’s famous Casa Bonita died the moment they hit the water and I believed him and it ruined Casa Bonita for me.  He says he doesn’t remember that but I know I’m not making that shit up.

One time Brian did what is now known as the butt dance. It’s on video, and my Aunt Hilda brings it up every family reunion.

One time Brian took me out to Chipotle when I was thirteen to tell me that kids drink in high school, just to save me the embarrassment of my naivety.  Thank God he did.

One time Brian saw me having a panic attack at school, so he drove me home, told me it was okay I was missing fourth block, and he told me to chill out for once in my life. I did.

One time Brian invited me to a college party in Boulder that resulted in me meeting the man who has been my boyfriend for the last seven and a half years.

One time Brian visited me right before college graduation and partied with me for a week straight.

A few times Brian and I laughed our way through terrible movies, adding witty banter and commentary that made us almost pee our pants.

Many times Brian and I slept by the Christmas tree, spending most of the night talking about everything and nothing.

Twice Brian and I, along with Mike, went on a Christmas Eve walk in the snow at midnight, doing more of the same.

And now we’re grown up. Mike’s engaged. Brian’s got a girl. I got my guy. We’re all juggling families this holiday season and I’m selfishly sad we’re no longer kids playing with our airplane ornaments. On the bright side, it’s good to know my brothers have grown up to be wonderful men, and I am excited for them to show their Christmas excitement to their respective spouses.

Brian all at once drives me insanely nuts and makes me incredibly proud. Like any older brother should. Just don’t challenge him to a game of trivia.

– One L

Hey! This is my last blog to of the year everybody! Happy Holidays and see you in 2014!

“This is the WORST movie I have ever seen.” “The worst.” “This is fucking terrible.” – Brian while sitting behind a group of girls in a movie theater watching Because I Said So.


Something Important

I am so ashamed of myself.

I know no one reads this except my mom and occasionally my boyfriend. I know it’s not popular or trending or ever gonna catch on to have some sort of a following. Heck I don’t even know if this blog is worth the time I put into it. But if there is one thing I am not, it is a ball dropper. (Heh heh. Ball dropper.) No matter who reads this or who cares, I made the decision long ago to always post a blog once a month, if at the very least as a writing exercise. Or as a reminder as to why I love to write so much.

And last month, June 2013, I did not post a damn thing.

Not that anyone was eager for it. Or that anyone was be disappointed it didn’t happen. But I am disappointed it didn’t happen. In some small way, it was like I gave up last month. (And let’s be honest, May’s was a little half-assed too. I was wallowing hard core.)

And I got a millions of June excuses in my brain to argue with myself. I know that I justifiably took a creativity break. It was summer. I finally landed enough jobs to pay some bills. I finally got over the embarrassment of being fired from a job I thought I was overqualified for (and, also, where I wrote one or two of these at. Ah, desk memories!) June was my month of going home for ten days, of being in a wedding, of seeing family and friends and taking a moment to just… breath.

But, like, seriously? Cry me a fucking river, Tafel. As if I had anything to “need a breather” from. It’s not like I’m knee deep in industry out here. What am I so swamped with phone calls and gig offers that I just needed me time? Was LA seriously asking too much of me? Because I’m pretty sure at this point I am asking too much of it! Give me a job! Give me an agent! Give me a TV show, wah wah wah!

It’s been about a year and a half and I still feel like I am scratching the surface of this beast known as Hollywood. My toes are in the pool, why did June justify going away from the water and laying on my towel a bit?

Alas, it was a busy month for me (and I wrote a speech for the wedding! Haha! Excuse #76!) capped off by a 4th of July weekend in LA where I paraded my visiting brother around showing him all the cool stuff I am in the vicinity of and reminding myself that just living in LA is pretty kickass.

I guess I am ashamed with myself not because I feel like I am far behind, goodness knows it takes a long time to get anywhere out here and part of this journey is patience and gratitude for what I have done, but rather that with my goals so lofty I need to wise-the-fuck-up already and quit making up excuses for dropping the fucking ball. What I mean is, unless I plan on setting my sites a little lower, maybe I should think twice before I check out for an entire month. Just saying.

WHO THE FUCK CARES IF NO ONE READS THIS BLOG? I write it. I need to have pride in it. I need to work at it.

Conversely, WHO THE FUCK CARES IF NO ONE KNOWS MY NAME OR CARES WHAT I DO OR THINK I AM A DIME A DOZEN? I don’t. And I need to have pride in myself. I need to work at me.

One of my two day jobs is working at CBS, which is a cool fucking gig. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes I am bored. Or hot. Or bored. Or I feel not important. But no matter how you slice it, working on a television show is way cooler and way more interesting than most jobs folks can even dream of doing. And I realized this today in between being bored and hot when Sheryl Underwood grabbed the microphone and spoke to the audience on The Talk.

The Talk is a CBS morning talk show with women sitting around and discussing topics very similar to another morning talk show with women sitting around and discussing topics that is on ABC. The cast of women is diverse, and Sheryl Underwood is one of the hosts on The Talk, representing the diverse group of sassiness. She may or may not be a household name, I personally didn’t know who she was until I worked on the show. But she is fun and has a good sense of humor about herself and you can tell she is having a ball working on The Talk. I know she is because today she grabbed the microphone during commercial break and said to the audience, “If you would’ve told me that I would work on a fun show with fun women and get to meet and interview famous people I would’ve said you were crazy. I have the best job in the world!”

And I believe Sheryl Underwood. And I am thrilled she said that to the audience today. After all, her life is really neat, and I am glad she appreciated it. Even if she is not a household name and even if she is on a show that is a little less famous but stupidly similar to another more famous show. Even if everyone forgets about The Talk in 20 years or even forgets who Sheryl Underwood is, at the very least Sheryl Underwood has the gumption to recognize that she has a one of the coolest jobs in the world that she will remember for the rest of her life. That is so awesome. Good. For. Her.

And there are tons of people who live their life with that Sheryl outlook.

People who travel. I have my parents’ friends who rented their house out to their daughter and have been on the road for the past year and a half staying in various towns across the country, learning about history of small rural areas, and making friends along the way. That sounds amazing.

People who have wicked cool vocations. I once knew a video game tester. Yep. That was his job. He tested video games for a living. Gave designers notes on how to make their video game more awesome. I’ve also known a zoo director, a inflatable sculpture artist (he makes giant balloons, PEOPLE) and a person who works at a brewery who will get free beer for the rest of his life. ALL REAL JOBS. ALL REAL COOL.

And for lots of people that is enough. It is enough to achieve the dream job or have the dream lifestyle. To buy the house you always wanted that you could fix up on your own and make it yours to pass on to your kids someday. Lore is big for a lot of folks. Traditions. Memories. Family. And for them that’s where joy is. Lore = joy.

I am mad that I slipped up on blogging because on top of all those desires, the Sheryl Underwood “I love my job” Proclamation, my parents travel friends, the cool job havers, the nice house owners, the tradition passer-on-ers…

On top of all those desires, I want to do something important. 

I am part of the sector of folks who want to leave their mark on the world in a profound way. It’s not enough to just have a cool job. If that was the case I would’ve stayed being a Tour Guide at Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory in Boulder, Colorado. It’s not enough to want the lore, otherwise I would spend all my time planning kick ass theme parties rather than half my time like I do now. I don’t just want to do things. I want to do memorable, game changer things.

And in order to do that, I probably shouldn’t forget the smaller goals I have along the way that will help me get there.

And that includes saying to myself that once a month I am going to write something on a stupid blog I like. Even if I am the only one who reads it. Because maybe, just maybe someday, I won’t be the only one who reads it. And I don’t want to drop the ball on that chance now do I?

And here’s the rub. While I know I want to leave a mark on the world, and I have it narrowed to comedy, to LA, to television, film, writing, acting, the arts (i.e. at least I have a navigated direction with my important something), I still have to solve the tricky riddle of what exactly my mark is. See? RUB! THERE IT IS.

And I can only discover that but doing more, by writing more, by figuring out my voice in this world I happen to live in. It’s okay that I took a break in June to see family and friends, and it’s okay that I work two jobs, one being CBS where I am a hot, bored, nobody. The important thing is that I take all of these things and put it toward my important thing.

I want to do something important. And with that goal, I can never be off the clock.

I will never be a ball dropper again.

(Hehe. Ball dropper.)

– One L

“I just hope my mark isn’t something incredibly embarrassing.”